Marxist scientism, hegel’s revenge and the question of free agency
August 5th, 2018 •
The left suffered the philosophical misfortune at birth of being caught up in a narrow version of secular humanism, a reductionist view of science, and, due to the hegelian reaction, a fanatical version of materialist rejection of idealism and a rejection of ideas of free will or simply free agency. The left has always been crippled as a result, hegel’s revenge. In addition, despite an initial rejection by marx (evidently replaced with a bluff due to engels’ influence), a strong adherence to the whole darwinist pseudo-science. Darwinist bolshevism ended up in genocidal wrath applied to class war, a wretched outcome. Who cares about the dialectic of materialism and idealism? The left must adopt an invariant stance.
Further, the fact remains that marx was not a very successful theorist and saddled ‘marxism’ (ideas of social theory as science were mostly primitive scientism), that cultic name-based celebrity worship of a founder, with a complex of theories that simply don’t work.
Lost in this ‘materialist’ idiocy was the idea that free agents with the will to act were/are the only vehicle to socialism: the idea that capitalism is some stage of history moving inevitably toward communism is simply false and we see the system simply going haywire in our time because it has no real directionality, the fiction of markets producing direction being shown up for what it is.
We cannot assume that social evolution is leading anywhere and can see, if we inject the idea of the eonic effect, that historical directionality is something different.
The system that we see has no set future in the near term, and requires for a socialist outcome the determination of evolutionaries/revolutionaries to construct a version of postcapitalism. That is by no means an easy task and marxism is simply not capable of producing any such result without going into a hopeless muddle of its own refusal to define what is meant or intended.
To a high probability this marxist domination will lead to the same stalinist outcome as before and for that reason the general public senses nothing but danger from the left, abandoning its canon altogether. Marxists are converts to a cult, while social democrats are remnants able to see the danger but apparently unaware of the limits of their evolutionary assumptions.
The factor of revolution was at least clearer to the era of marxism in action (it is entirely possible to ‘evolve’ toward a constitutional refoundation) but philosophical rigor mortis set in very early and the need to find an overall package that was the object of free agents constructing it was lost to the stale jargon of marxist dead thinking.
R48G: postcapitalism requires the action of free agents to create it, not passivity in a mechanical system…
August 23rd, 2017 •
We are caught in the downspiral of what constitutes the ‘endgame of capitalism’.
But for some reason the left, under the influence of marxism, seems unready for the challenge. Part of the reason is the simple inability to attract an audience at this point. In the period of the early internationals the canon of Marx/Engels rapidly spread and created a global audience. Now it appears unable to do so, for reasons that are in a way obvious: the factor of bolshevism is a fatal blight on the legacy. These points are actually obvious, almost cliches, but the solution seems to elude the left, which is mostly a remnant as the majority has moved on. But unfortunately activist groups end up floundering in electicism without an organizing framework. And the canon is itself flawed and needs to be recast, a very difficult task that is more likely to produce a confused rendering. We have suggested a new approach: move beyond historical materialism to broader view of history, eject from ‘stages of production’ theory to a view of capitalism that is ad hoc, not systematic. There is no stage of history that is capitalist and capitalism was not the prime destroyer of feudalism. Capitalism was simply a striking amplification of the capitalism that had existed since the Neolithic in primitive stages. The point was/is to create a social system that can buffer the new economic processes in an intelligent way. In many ways it is a question creating a real democracy, a system of equality in the context of market economies moving beyond that to a higher synthesis.
A new formulation is needed that doesn’t require the constant dogmatic reiteration of blanket marxism, which doesn’t mean that legacy can’t be cited. But the left is saddled with endless futile attempts to defend their mistakes. In a way the obsessive celebration of the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution is a distraction. We need to act as if socialism/communism were being considered for the first time, and to be able to simply shrug when critics point to mistakes/flaws/failures of the older left: the stance should be, not of our doing, and our principles won’t lead to a repetition there because our formulation is a new one.
Our formulation here is based on the idea that free agency is a key factor in historical realization. That economic systems don’t determine history as such, despite their huge momentuam, and that instead of waiting on the ‘next epoch’ of communism men have to act as free agents to conceive and realize a system that is not letting capitalism to run amok. Calling capitalism a stage of history was a monumental blunder from the start. Rather we should consider that a communist foundation is needed to create democratic equality. We must as free agents design a system that can match those axioms.
It is a fallacy to think the system of capitalism is evolving to communism: we must instead assume we are free agents an act to create a sane future.